Staring into my plate of half-eaten breakfast, I wondered if I had the strength for what came next.
Last time, I sweated, whined and writhed in discomfort as my Thai Massage Therapist sank his forearms into my anterior lower leg, which rested securely in his lap. “Can I go deeper?” he asked.
“A little,” I squeaked, knowing the discomfort would be worth the result.
“Okay, a little deeper,” he said with a comforting laugh and sank down further into my leg.
Everything about that massage was deep and intense and lovely. For the next few days after leaving his clinic, my whole body was soft and spacious; movement was easy and light.
I wanted to receive a massage from this skilled therapist again before leaving Thailand. But, in the last week, my stomach was sick. And, after a difficult journey from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai the day before, I woke my last morning in Thailand with a puffy, swollen eye that would not fully open. A mosquito bit me while I slept.
Empty and tired, I paid for my breakfast and walked slowly down the soi to the clinic for my massage. I will just tell him I don’t feel well, I thought, and ask him not to go so deep this time. But, I didn’t.
In the cool, blue-tiled clinic, I sat on the long, wooden bench and watched my therapist adjust a woman’s neck. He took his time, ensuring every detail of her body position was just right before making the quick movement the adjustment required. She moaned in happy relief and I smiled, feeling happy for her.
At the sound of my name, I stood and followed him to the massage station next to the entrance.
“Two hours?” he asked.
“Okay, on your back.”
My body softened and relaxed as I reclined with my eyes closed. He began to press my feet, sinking so slowly and so gently. I drifted into that fuzzy place where my mind rests just before falling asleep, feeling nurtured and expansive, and knowing, even though he would follow the same full-body sequence, this massage would be nothing like the one before.